BOSTON — The former town accountant of Uxbridge has pleaded guilty and been sentenced to serve three years in jail in connection with stealing more than $900,000 from multiple municipalities including the towns of Uxbridge, Wenham, Millville and Monterey, Attorney General Maura Healey announced in a press release today.
Justin Cole, 40, of Uxbridge pleaded guilty in Worcester Superior Court May 25 to the charges of Larceny over $250 (6 counts), Larceny over $1,200 (2 counts), False Claims (5 counts), Securing an Unwarranted Privilege (4 counts), and Unlawful Financial Interest of a Municipal Employee (1 count). Following the plea, Judge Daniel Wrenn declared Cole a Common and Notorious Thief and sentenced him to three years and one month in the Worcester County House of Correction followed by three years of probation with the condition that he is barred from performing any financial services for any person or entity.
“This defendant abused his position of trust to steal taxpayer dollars from Massachusetts towns for his own benefit,” AG Healey said. “We are pleased to deliver justice on behalf of these towns, and to hold this defendant accountable.”
The case was referred to the AG’s Office by the Office of the Inspector General. “Towns across Massachusetts hired Justin Cole to manage and safeguard their finances,” said Inspector General Glenn A. Cunha. “Instead, he used his position to embezzle from them. My Office is pleased to have partnered with the Attorney General to bring him to justice.”
From 2012–2017, Cole, while employed as Uxbridge’s town accountant, stole town funds by submitting and approving dozens of false invoices and related submissions that caused the town to pay for services not provided. Cole, who was also the principal of Bay State Municipal Accounting Group (BMAG), fraudulently caused Uxbridge to pay rent owed by BMAG to its landlord, and purchase software and equipment for use solely by BMAG. Through these schemes, Cole stole a total of more than $855,000 from Uxbridge.
After stepping down as Uxbridge’s full-time town accountant in July 2017, Cole continued to defraud other municipalities through BMAG, which provided accounting and financial services to the towns of Monterey, Millville, and Wenham. He used this role to steal additional funds from all of the towns through fraudulent billing, causing those towns to pay BMAG’s rent expenses, and by misleading officials about municipal loan applications.
In total, Cole stole a total of $931,149 with $855,474 from Uxbridge, $24,597 from Monterey, $47,600 from Millville, and $3,478 from Wenham.
This case was prosecuted by Senior Trial Counsel Edward Beagan, from the AG’s White Collar and Public Integrity Division, along with Investigators Logan Davis, Jonathan Pitts and Ryan Miller of the Inspector General’s Office and assistance from Victim Witness Advocate Megan Murphy of AG Healey’s Victim Witness Services Division. The Massachusetts Department of Revenue’s Division of Local Services, and the towns of Uxbridge, Millville, Wenham, and Monterey also provided critical assistance to this investigation.